How to Wow Blog Editors (and Get Published)

How to Wow Blog Editors (and Get Published)

Today’s guest post comes to us from Laura Spencer, a well-known crack writer, blogger and head editor at Freelance Folder, one of the blogosphere’s largest hangouts for freelancers. She responded to a post written last week about when your guest post is held hostage – and her comment was so well thought out that I asked her for her opinions on how to be a great guest poster. Here it is – enjoy!
So, you’ve decided to incorporate guest posting into your marketing strategy. Good for you.
Guest posting can be an effective way to reach your target audience.
Guest poster Chris Birk did a good job recently of describing how a writer feels when a guest post is accepted but has not yet been published. However, with all due respect to Chris’s excellent insights, that’s only half the story.
As an editor at a blog, a writer for three blogs, and an owner of two blogs–I have been on the receiving end of a lot of guest posts over the years. I can tell you one thing: While many guest posters are extremely talented, some are not. A few are pushy and some are even rude.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of emailing off four, five, or more guest posts quickly and then expecting to see your work on the blog of your choice the very next day. After all, the blog editor/owner has probably been waiting breathlessly for your little darlings, right?
Sorry, no. Usually, things don’t work that way.
Thoughtful Actions to Help You Get Published
First of all, every single blog is different. Every blog editor or owner has different expectations and needs. This can make it tough to break in as a guest author.
However, there are some relatively easy steps any guest author can take. These steps will usually increase the chances of getting a post published. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Before your write your guest post, read the blog where you want to submit your guest post. I mean REALLY read it. Take the time to study the last four or five posts published. Look at the style and tone of the blog. Scan the topics that have already been covered.
  2. Look for a writer’s guidelines page. Not all blogs will have this page and sometimes the page is hard to find. But, when a guidelines page is there make sure that you follow it to the letter. This page is a blueprint for you and usually describes what a blog is looking for.
  3. If the blog is missing a writer’s guideline page, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a blog doesn’t accept guest posts–but, it could. Look at the blog site again to see if any other guest authors have already been published. If in doubt, a polite email to the site owner may be in order.
  4. Make your post as editor-friendly as possible. This includes proofreading your post thoroughly. If possible, format the post in HTML. If the blog uses images, find a royalty-free image that fits your topic and attach it your post.
  5. Once the post is accepted, be sure to iron out the important details, such as whether or not you will be paid for the post and who owns the published post.

What to Do While Waiting to Be Published
Oops! You’ve sent your post in. It’s been a day or two and you haven’t heard back from the editor yet. Or, the editor said they would use your post, but it’s been over a week and they haven’t published it.
It’s time to shake the dust from your feet and move on, right?
Wrong! If you submitted your post to a large blog, remember that they may get dozens of guest posts each week. Often, posts are scheduled in advance (sometimes way in advance).
If you submitted to a smaller blog, the site owner may be blogging in addition to doing a regular job. He or she may be busy with work, or they may even be on vacation.
Be patient. It’s perfectly acceptable to email your contact and ask about the status of your post.
Common Mistakes Guest Authors Make
Here are some common mistakes that I’ve seen guest authors make. (You’re reading this post, so you now know better. I don’t want to catch any of you making these mistakes. 😉 )
Don’t submit:

  • A guest post that has nothing to do with the topic of the blog
  • A guest post that is a thinly disguised advertorial, chock full of affiliate links
  • A guest post that has been used elsewhere
  • A guest post that you wouldn’t be proud to put on your own site

Do you accept guest posts on your blog? What guidelines do you have? Are you a guest poster? Has this post been helpful to you?
Laura Spencer is a freelance writer with over 19 years of professional writing experience. She blogs at Writing Thoughts and is editor for Freelance Folder.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Seriously, Laura writes articles about crack? :) Good post, I’m considering doing a few guest posts and this is some great advice.
    .-= Karen Friesecke´s last blog ..How To Make A Snuggie For Your Dog =-.

  2. I left a keyword for a name says:

    I face this problem when i apply to large blogs only. When I submit a guest post to small blogs most of the time they are added without any delay as they want more and more fresh content. I even had 2 major blog publish the same content on the same day when I send them over for review. Most of the time before posting the blog owners get back to us, but this time both of the bloggers did not. Duplicate content!!!
    .-= businessheadache´s last blog ..Business Web Hosting =-.

  3. I think the most important thing to come out of this is to study the blog and make sure that your writing is inline with the house style. It’s important to have your own voice but equally as important to make sure your writing complements the blog. Too many writers are self indulgent and ignore this basic rule.
    .-= Yvonne´s last blog ..Priority Club Rewards =-.

  4. Excellent points! Thanks for the tips.

    Along this same lines, this post from Daily Blog Tips was right next to yours in my feed reader:

    It’s definitely a checklist that should be used when writing a guest post for submission.
    .-= Leslie A. Joy´s last blog ..The Big Finish: Edition 1 =-.

  5. I would say that it’s critical to make sure that you are only submitting one piece to one place at a time. If they say that they don’t want it, then re-send to a different blog, but sending the same piece to multiple blogs at once is a recipe for disaster with duplicate content.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire
    .-= Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire´s last blog ..Ronnie James Dio’s Small Business Success Lesson =-.

  6. Thanks for the advice Laura. I’ve been considering allowing guest posts on my blog. This post and the last one about guest posting have been helpful in understanding the process.
    .-= Chris Mower´s last blog ..Your Way is the Best Way =-.

  7. I’ve never written a guest post, but I have been thinking about it. I suppose the main reason is that I’m not confident about my level of English :S

    But if at the end I decided to give it a try, this tips will be very useful :) Thanks for sharing!

    Ah, and I also agree with you. Unfortunately, some people believe they are the centre of the world, but not only in the blogosphere :(
    .-= Ksenia´s last blog ..The end =-.

  8. Wow! Thanks for the comments everybody.

    What a thrill to discover that James thinks that I am well-known and a crack writer. (I confess that I had to rub my eyes to make sure that he didn’t say I was a “cracked” writer, which is sometimes what I feel like.)

    @Karen Friesecke–I’m glad that you found this helpful. Good luck to you in your guest posting.

    @Ileftakeywordforaname, Don’t submit the same exact post to two different blogs at the same time. Bad stuff, that.

    @LeslieA.Joy. The post you like to is a great add-on to this one. The two definitely work well together.

    @JoshuaBlack–You’ve got it exactly…

    @ChrisMower, Glad to be of help.

    @Ksenia. That is so true, and you’re right that it’s not just in the blogosphere.
    .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Should Writers Be Paid by Word Count? =-.

  9. Great post Laura.

    I really love: “Before your write your guest post, read the blog where you want to submit your guest post. I mean REALLY read it.”

    It doesn’t make any sense to just submit blindly and hope that blog accepts your guest post, you need to know what that blog is all about. I even like to do some commenting and get more of a connection going with the blog owner instead of just saying: “Hey, here’s my post. You want to put it on your blog?”

    Thanks again for this great post!
    .-= George Passwater´s last blog ..Don’t Tweak Your Reader’s Flux Capacitor – Four Simple Things to Focus On to Keep Your Reader From Going Bananas =-.

  10. @George – You’re right. It doesn’t make sense to submit blindly, but I can’t begin to count the number of people that do just that. Frustrating.

  11. I’ve been hosting guests for over a year. At the one-year mark, I posted this advice for both hosting and being a good guest.

  12. Thanks for this, Laura. I sometimes get people emailing me and saying, “I’d love to guest post for you, but I was wondering what you want me to write about.” Uh, well, isn’t it kind of their job to pitch me with their ideas?

    Also, I get innumerable well-intentioned-and-perfectly-lovely notes about how people would love to contribute, and how they’ll get back to me soon. Buuuut, they never send me anything, which is disappointing because I love to get guest posts.

    It’s been my practice to write the article first, then pitch the blogger. Always works for me!
    .-= Suzannah´s last blog ..Quick Fixes for 6 Fiction Writing Weaknesses =-.

  13. with the rising importance of guest posts, that’s a very useful post, thank you :)
    .-= Farouk´s last undefined ..Response cached until Wed 19 @ 8:15 GMT (Refreshes in 23.81 Hours) =-.

  14. I believe doing guest blogs is a great way to showcase your writing skills, specially when you’re promoting yourself as a freelance writer. Relevance and content are important when it comes to submission of posts. It might take time for you to receive a reply since editors receive a lot of submissions as well. Anyway, to answer your question, we accept guest blogs from seasoned freelancers who want to share their tips or know-how to newbies out there, and from start-ups or small businesses who can share tips on how to be successful in outsourcing.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Hiring a Freelancer? 6 Things You Must Consider =-.

  15. Susan Johnston says:

    It’s interesting to read the perspective of the other side. One thing that I think would be helpful for writers who are trying to contribute to larger is blogs is if the editors set up a specific email address for submitting assignments as opposed to the big general email for everything. Many times I’ve gotten an idea green lighted, written it exactly as requested and before the deadline agreed upon, then it goes into a big black hole, because they get so much email to the general inbox. I completely understand that it can take a few weeks for an editor to write back, but if I don’t hear for a month or more, after a few polite follow-ups, I can only assume they’ve lost interest. Then it’s time for me to move on to other blogs and other guest blogging opportunities.

  16. Where did all these people come from? 😉

    Well, since the post is still generating comments I guess I’ll answer them.

    @TerryOdell–Good link. Thanks for that. :-)
    @Suzannah, I think you’re right. It IS their job. In the past, I’ve been too kind and sometimes helped these people, but I mostly don’t have time to brainstorm for a guest blogger any more. The one exception would be when I’ve contacted someone and requested that they contribute a guest post.
    @Farouk–Glad you liked it.
    @Issa. Good luck with your blog.
    @SusanJohnston, I think you are absolutely right. I do think a separate email address is a really good idea. Especially, (as is often the case) if multiple people are accessing the same email.
    .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Should Writers Be Paid by Word Count? =-.

  17. I’ve done several guest posts (more planned), and always formatted them, added internal links, a photo (when appropriate), etc. It seemed like common courtesy to me. Guess it’s not so common after all.

    Reminds me of people who send in resumes that are full of spelling mistakes or printed on pink paper.
    .-= Jodi Kaplan´s last blog ..Lamborghini or Hyundai? =-.

  18. Guilty of a couple counts. Missed out on one opportunity when I was invited to guest write for a large and well established blog. I made the mistake of thinking I could pump out a great piece without fully familiarizing myself with their direction and style. I got the subject right, my execution was terrible. I’m actually embarrassed to submit another piece to em.

    Pretty basic stuff, but good to have a reminder now and then. We get so caught up in our focus and sure of ourselves, the little things trip us up and we end up landing on our faces.
    .-= Paul ,Novak´s last blog ..Paul Kurtz Resignation from CFI =-.

  19. Ouch, I feel convicted by this one! I requested to do a guest article on a site, and though I’ve been subscribed to them for a while and have read most of their posts since subscribing, I haven’t taken into account the details such as writing style that this article describes. Oh well, mistakes happen, it’s all a learning process :)
    .-= Joseph McCullough´s last blog ..Why I Wish iPhone Apps Were More Expensive =-.

  20. Wow. Thanks for your kind post. I have published guest post on some small blog easily but rejected from large blog many times. But after reading this post. I have to work again with it. Thanks

  21. I have been thinking about doing guest posting but I was worried about my posts being to short and direct that nobody would accept them but Laura thanks I will be sure to follow your tips.

  22. A lot of blogs are too picky about what articles they allow. I understand that sometimes you have to choose the very best, but I find that most blogs out there are very rude and just tear my work apart without taking the time to actually read the post in it’s entirety as it was meant. If they would do so and understand my work perhaps then we could develop a more cohesive working relationship.

    One of the blogs I do post on a lot and doesn’t tear my work apart is Nerdteck. The staff there are always super helpful and friendly. One of the first things they did was welcome me to their blog and post my article all over facebook and twitter. They pushed around 20,000 people to my article in the first week alone! That’s why I keep going back. They are the best I have found, and I have tried posting a LOT of different places.

  23. Those were some very useful tips. Thanks for sharing your insights. I especially like the what not to do part. I’m sure it can be frustrating to be sent a guest post that has nothing to do with the content of the site. Especially when you’ve never spoken to the person before 😉

  24. All students or budding freelance journalists who are looking to get their work published you can contact us at


  1. Friday PR File – May 21, 2010 « Jill. PR. says:

    […] How to Wow Blog Editors (and Get Published) – Men With Pens […]

  2. […] How Top Wow Blog Editors And Get Published […]

  3. […] don’t need a magic wand to have your articles and blog posts published by top media outlets. All you need are a couple of great ideas, a decent command of the English language and the […]

  4. […] for fiction writers.  Also, think beyond this site – where else could you guest post?  Writing a good guest post can give you practice, exposure, and experience for your own […]

  5. […] From Men With Pens, How to Wow Blog Editors (and Get Published) […]

  6. […] Get in the good graces of blog editors and you might see your name in lights. Or print, anyway.  At least, that’s how Freelance Folder Editor Laura Spencer feels. In her guest post over at Men With Pens, she dishes on what impresses her as an editor and what you can do to get published on major blog sites. (On a related note, we are always interested in a good guest post here at WMF, so if you’re interested, why hit us up at But before you do that, read Laura’s post. It’s good stuff. […]

Leave a Comment